SIPTU calls for Government to remove threat of workplace tribunal fees
SIPTU has called on the Government to amend legislation in order to remove the possibility of a minister introducing workplace tribunal fees following a landmark ruling in the UK, today (Wednesday, 26th July), that finds that such charges mitigate against workers seeking justice.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Paul Henry, said: “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in the UK is a historic victory for workers. The Court found that the charging of fees to access a workplace tribunal process was inconsistent with a worker’s right to access justice.
“Indeed, research has found that the introduction of charges by the UK Government had cut the numbers seeking to access the workplace tribunal process by more than half. The ruling also means that those workers who have paid charges since their introduction in the UK four years ago will have to be compensated.”
He added: “When the Government established the new Workplace Relations Commission in Ireland in 2015, SIPTU representatives strongly opposed the inclusion in legislation of an ability for the responsible minister to introduce charges to access the process. Thankfully, Section 71 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 which provides the minister with this power is currently not enacted.
“However, as the UK ruling clearly indicates the provision of such a power in the legislation runs counter to the principle that a person’s access to justice should not be impeded. It would seem clear that if the power provided for in Section 71 was ever enacted it would only result in an unnecessary legal battle to have it overturned.
“With this in mind, SIPTU is again calling for Section 71 to be removed from the Workplace Relations Act 2015 due to the fact that it runs counter to fundamental legal principles.”